The first semester of the academic year is now drawing to a close which means the University of Sunderland men’s rugby union will be out of action until February.

With that in mind, vice president Lewis Baker gives us thoughts on the first half of the season and looks ahead to the latter half.

“I feel like the season could have gone much better. A few results could have come off in our favour and our heads just weren’t in it,” he said.

Sunderland went into the campaign on the back of a disappointing previous season where they only managed to stay in the current league because of another team’s relegation.

With many experienced players graduating, the society looked to recruiting new players from this year’s set of first years. However, the team were unable to recruit many new players and because of Wednesday lectures a great deal of senior players were unavailable for game days.

As a result, Sunderland found themselves travelling to away games with only one substitute or none at all.

This was the case in their first league game of the season against Huddersfield in which they were beaten 71-8 by the home side.

Afterwards, Sunderland went on a month long loss streak which was ended when University of Hull men’s 2nd came up to Wearside. The home side held them to a 7-5 victory which was a turning point for the team.

And when Huddersfield arrived for the reverse fixture, Sunderland gave them a much harder time managing to play them to a 19-48 score line.

However, Sunderland once again were on the receiving end of a bad loss when they travelled to Sheffield Hallam Men’s 2nd where they travelled with only 15 players. The game ended early due to head injuries to two of Sunderland’s players with the score line at 60-12 to Sheffield.

Despite this, Baker is positive the team can find form again.

“I think we can come back and win more games however it’s down to the boys pulling it together and coming to training.

“We could improve by coming together and keeping our game heads on. Training is a must as well as some boys have been notably absent.”

You can see Sunderland back in action once again against University of Bradford Men’s 1st on 15 February 2017.